Thursday, 2 February 2012

Sex and the City 2

OK, it doesn't scream 'cinema as high art', but is Sex and the City 2 a light-hearted, trashy but enjoyable romp, or an inane and soulless reel of annoying crap falling into the genre of exploitation cinema? Unfortunately, this film (and I use the term 'film' losely; it's not so much a film as it is an advertisement for stupidity) falls into the latter category.

Essentially, we are set up to dislike 4 characters, and then watch them get pampered for an hour. In a way it is the inverse of the short story I have no mouth and I must scream, in which we are set up to like five protagonists and then read about their torture for the rest of the story. Sex and the City 2 is a horror story for the equal and opposite reason. Contrast again with The Human Centipede; we're set up to dislike two girls and then see them be tortured for the rest of the movie (except a completely sympathetic Japanese tourist joins them, ruining this device), Sex and the City 2 goes in the other direction, with almost equally horrifying results.

We are introduced to Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker), our protagonist, as she feels her recent marriage to John Preston (Chris Noth) has lost some sort of 'zing'. Rather than realizing this is a normal part of marriage, we're taught that the Hard-working John is wrong to stay in and cook for his wife; he should be taking her to expensive restaurants! On a day when John had been worked himself tired, we're to believe he's an unsympathetic character for the crime not wanting to a attend completely unrelated film premiere. Never mind "the market fell 100 points" and thousands of real people will likely lose their jobs, you're a a bastard for then not taking your mealy-mouthed wife to indulge in superficiality.

It's not that scene which trivializes and undermines the sanctity of human relationships--no no--that already happened in the opening scene. We're introduced to the four women as they attend a gay wedding, where infidelity is discussed as a perfectly acceptible because, hey "there are lots of marriages". Yeah, well thank goodness there are lots of other films, too.

All of this could be forgiven if the films proved genuinely funny, but all attempts at humour are trite and predictable. Should an Irish character appear on screen, you know it's only a matter of time before a 'lucky charms' joke is made. Worse, the choice of targets is at times the only characters or figures with which the audience has any real sympathy. Any sort of independence or utilitarianism is punished and condemned as 'stupid'. Checking that your phone is functional in a new country is distracting the group from concerns more superficial, so shame on you, idiot!

It gets worse, far, far worse. Superficiality continues on as a conceptual hero of the story, uniter of cultures, and meaning of life. Guaranteed to make you feel 'what is wrong with the world', give this one a miss.

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